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New Issue of "Salt Shakers" Magazine - January 2018

SS 47 Jan 2018 Page 1"Covenant Keepers", the youth ministry of the Covenant Evangelical Reformed Church of Singapore (our sister church), has now released the January 2018 issue of "Salt Shakers" (#47),their youth magazine.

The January 2018 issue of "SS" is once again filled with interesting and instructive articles, and our PRC young people especially are encouraged to make it part of their reading content.

Below you will find a note from the "SS" Committee introducing the contents of this issue and images of the cover and table of contents. The entire issue is also attached here in pdf form.

Beloved Readers,

Salt Shakers is pleased to bring you Issue 47, the first issue of 2008! 
This issue, we begin our consideration of a new theme which highlights the important calling of holiness in our lives. We pray that our readers may be edified to this end through the excellent Reformed articles in this edition.
We thank the Lord for His continued grace in sustaining this magazine. May it ever redound to His glory! 
Our heartfelt appreciation also goes to all our writers for their contributions to Salt Shakers!
In the January 2018 issue:
  • Calvin's Instruction on Church Membership Aaron Lim
  • Scripture's Covenant Youth (X): David - Prof. Herman Hanko
  • Are Unbelievers in God's Image? (V) - Rev. Angus Stewart
  • CKCKS Camp Review: Examine Yourselves - Nichelle Wong
  • In the Year of the Dog - Daisy Lim
  • Raising a Covenant Family - Rev. Arie Den Hartog
  • A Letter to My Unforgiving Self (I) - Marcus Wee
  • The Importance of Family Devotions - Rev. Ryan Barnhill
  • Reformed Polemics for the Reformed Believer - Rev. Nathan Langerak
  • Rejoicing and Weeping Together (I): Introduction - Lim Yang Zhi
  • Bold to Witness  - Rev. Stephan Regnerus
  • Holiness: A Conscious Choice - Eld. Lee Kong Wee
Remember to pass the salt!
Pro Rege,
Chua Lee Yang, On Behalf of the Salt Shakers Committee
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PRC Weekly News for January 21, 2018 - Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church *(Updated)

Ephesians 4 6On this third Lord's Day of 2018, January 21, we note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Candidate David Noorman is considering the call from SW PRC (Wyoming, MI - received Dec.17). He is due to answer by January 28.
  • On January 14 the Council of Calvary PRC announced a new trio from which to call a new pastor: Revs. B. Huizinga, J. Mahtani, and Cand. D. Noorman. The congregation will vote from this trio this morning. *Update: Rev. B. Huizinga has received this call.
  • In December of last year Rev. K. Koole celebrated 40 years in the ministry in the PRC. He was ordained in December of 1977 and has served the PRC congregations of Randolph, WI, Hope (Redlands, CA), Faith, and Grandville. Tonight the Grandville congregation will hold a special "cake and coffee social" to commorate this significant milestone. We congratulate Rev. Koole and his wife Pat and thank God for their years of service in the PRC. May the Lord continue to uphold them and use them for the good of His church.
  • With many officebearer installations taking place, our elders and deacons are reminded of the resources available to them on this special section of the PRC website.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

  • Classis East met on January 10 at Hudsonville PRC. The stated clerk has now submitted his official report the work done and decision reached. That may be found on this Classis East webpage.
  • ADVICE FOR ELDERS ON FAMILY VISITATION:  If you missed Prof. B. Gritters' speech on Family Visiting this past Tuesday (Jan.9) at Hudsonville PRC (Classis East Officebearers’ Conference), the audio version has now been posted on Hudsonville PRC's Sermonaudio channel.
  • From the PRC Seminary comes this January news:
    • Second semester classes begin for the seminary this Tuesday, January 23 (see the link above for that schedule).  If anyone would like to audit classes, the following classes are offered to auditors:  Reformed Symbols (discusses the nature of confessions and includes a treatment of the Lord's Days/Articles of both the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession); Dogmatics (Anthropology); and New Testament History (Passion week through the ministry of the apostle Paul).  If you are interested in attending, please call the seminary (531-1490) tomorrow to find out day and time the class you are interested in will meet.
    • The seminary’s interim course this year is now completed. Prof. R. Cammenga taught his special course on “The Theology of John Calvin.”  If you would like to watch/listen to the videos of this course, they are posted on the Seminary's main page.
    • The latest issue of the PR Theological Journal (Fall 2017) is now available in print form and in three (3) digital forms. Visit the Seminary's Journal page to download the digital editions and contact the Seminary if you would like to receive a print copy. At the Journal page you may also find all the back issues as well as an index to past issues.

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SISTER-CHURCH NEWS

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be reported:
    • Cand. D. Noorman and his wife returned home from Singapore this past week. Rev. A. denHartog and his wife will be leaving this week to serve this congregation for an extended time, as requested by the PRC Contact Committee. The den Hartog's are planning to be in Singapore at least until after this year's Synod makes a decision on the CERCS calling a minister-on-loan from our denomination.
    • Her latest newsletter (December 2017) may be found on this page.
  • Concerning our sister church in Ballymena, N. Ireland, Covenant PRC, we may note the following:
    • Her latest newsletter was received and posted in December of 2017. You may find that on this page. And don't forget her other publication - Covenant Reformed News! That latest issue may be found here.
    • The annual church-visitation delegation from the PRC to the CPRC is now in N. Ireland.  Rev. N. Decker and Sid Meidema (PRC Contact Committee) left this past week to conduct church visitation with the council of our sister congregation, the Covenant PRC of Ballymena and visit the Limerick Reformed Fellowship. Rev. Decker will also be preaching and lecturing while there. Rev. Decker and Mr. Miedema will be gone for two Sundays and be returning on Monday, January 29, the Lord willing.
    • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Hebron Hall in South Wales from Saturday, July 21, to Saturday, July 28. Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God." More information and booking forms are available at http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins (616-214-2779; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Save the Date: The dates for the 2018 Family Conference have been finalized! First PRC in Edmonton, AB plans to host the conference July 20-22, 2018 D.V. Hear from our speakers: Rev. B. Huizinga, N. Langerak and J. Marcus on the topic of 'Seeking The Lord'. Mark your calendars and plan to attend what promises to be a spiritually encouraging time of growth and fellowship with saints from Canada and abroad, as well as an opportunity to see some of the beauty that God has created here in Canada. For more information or to register, please visit our website https://edmontonfamilyconf.wixsite.com/conference2018, or contact Scott Ferguson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of Limerick Reformed Fellowship, was interviewed by Christopher Arnzen on his radio program, “Iron Sharpens Iron”, on Friday, January 5. The subject for this interview was Rev. McGeown’s recent book, Called to Watch for Christ’s Return. If you missed the live program, you may still listen to the mp3 recording of it found on the Covenant PRC website.
     
  • Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber? Why not begin the new year by becoming one and feeding your soul with solid Reformed and biblical articles in 2018 and beyond!
  • Reformed Book Outlet: The January 2018 newsletter notes that you may find many devotional books for the new year and that officebearers may find many resources for their work (cf. attached pdf.).

  • THE HOPE HERALDS 2017 CD ENTITLED, “OUR GOD IS GOD” is available for $10 in the main offices of Covenant Chr. High School and Heritage Christian School and also at the Reformed Book Outlet and the PR Seminary bookstore. If you are not able to pick up your copy at any of these locations, please call or text Karen Daling (616-662-0784) or Dan VanDyke (616-610-3276) and we will mail the CD for $12. Thank you!
  • Psalm Choir - The latest CD, Volume 20, ‘Sweet Refreshment’ is now available. There are over 25 selections from the past two seasons.  Please visit the website www.psalmchoir.com to order.

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  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. W. Bruinsma is "Arming Ourselves for Christ's Return" (2), based on 1 Thess. 5:8-10.
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

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Rev. D. Kleyn teaching pastors in Sipalay, Negros (cf. note below)

 MISSION NEWS:

  • From Georgetown PRC's bulletin we learn about the current delegation to Vellore, India: "Pastor and Mary Haak and Bruce and Cherie Jabaay [arrived safely this past Wednesday, Jan.17] for a three week visit to the PRCV of India. They hope to continue the work of our previous delegation, i.e.; meeting with the Tamil and English Church, assisting in the Sola Gratia Program, working with the GFH, visiting with members of the church and the Consistory of the PRCV, teaching and preaching, etc. While we would have liked to arrange for one delegation to spend a few months time with the PRCV, due to the current opposition toward Christianity is was deemed to send another delegation for a shorter period of time. Pray for the Lord’s blessing. You will be able to follow their visit on our church face book page and via congregational email updates."
  • The last Philippines mission newsletter is dated November 2017 and may be found on this PRC webpage.
  • The December 2017 newsletter of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship mission station is now posted on this page.
  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Maranatha PRC and the Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Provident CC: 
      • Rev. Holstege will preach in the first service today and Rev. Kleyn in the second. Church Order class will meet after the first service. We will consider Articles 44ff. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Holstege will preach for PCC.

      • The Kleyns will travel to Negros this week to instruct the pastors in Sipalay. May the Lord prosper their trip.

    • Maranatha PRC:

      • Today, our Pastor, Rev. L. Trinidad will lead our first and second services He will lead, the Bible Study on the Book of Revelation, Lesson # 44.
      • Next week Rev. D. Kleyn will lead us in both services and conduct the Lesson, “Role of the Officer Bearers.

  • Let us remember and continue to lift up the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful in all their labors.
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Report of Classis East Meeting, January 10, 2018

HudsonvillePRC picThe stated clerk of Classis East submits the following official report on the recent meeting of Classis East:

Classis East Report – January 10, 2018

Classis East met on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at Hudsonville PRC. By rotation Rev. J. Smidstra would have been the chairman of this meeting. Due to some weighty matters and the fact that this would be his first Classis meeting as a delegate, he requested of the Classical committee that he step aside as chairman of this meeting. The Classical committee brought this request as well as a recommendation that Rev. R. Van Overloop chair this meeting. Both recommendations were approved by Classis.

Routine matters such as reports from the stated clerk, classical committee, and church visitors were reported. The church visitors reported on their visits with the congregations of Classis East. They used the theme of “Ministering Righteousness in the Congregation” based on Nehemiah 5. They report that “We are thankful that the congregations within our Classis are doing well. The councils reported that there is peace, love, and unity present within their congregations.”

Classis considered three appeals and one overture. Two of the appeals dealt with discipline in two different congregations. In both cases these were decided to be not legally before Classis based on the fact that Articles 30 and 31 were not satisfied, that is, the matters were not finished in the minor assemblies. The remaining appeal was declared legally before Classis and assigned a committee of three ministers and three elders. That committee will bring their recommendation to a special meeting of Classis East on February 28, 2018. The overture was brought by an individual recommending that, prior to the meeting of classis, materials only be distributed to active council members and clergy of the PRC. After much deliberation this overture was adopted.

Classis at its January meeting elects delegates for Synod. Elected were the following: MINISTERS: Primi: Revs. G. Eriks, C. Haak, W. Langerak, C. Spronk, and R. Van Overloop, Secundi: H. Bleyenberg, W. Bruinsma, N. Decker, K. Koole, A. Lanning.  ELDERS: Primi: Pete Adams, Gary Kaptein, Jim Lanting, Howard Pastoor, Pete Vander Schaaf. Secundi: Bruce Jabaay, Larry Koole, Harlow Kuiper, Joel Minderhoud, and Dave Rau

In other voting for delegates ad examina, Rev. M. DeVries was elected as primus and Rev. N. Decker as secundus delegate. Both were for three-year terms. Rev. C. Spronk was elected for two-year term as secundus to replace Rev. R. Smit. Rev. J. Slopsema and Rev. K. Koole were elected as church visitors for 2018. Rev. A. Lanning and Rev. R. Van Overloop will serve as alternates. Rev. W. Langerak was elected to another three-year term to the classical committee.

Classis approved a 2018 subsidy request from Providence PRC ($30,000). 2019 Subsidy requests were approved for Pittsburgh PRC ($109,000), Providence PRC ($30,000), Wingham PRC ($36,000 – CAD). Expenses for Classis amounted to $1,160.24. Classis will reconvene at Hudsonville PRC on February 28. The May Classis meeting will be held on May 9, 2018 at Faith PRC.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Boverhof, Stated Clerk

PRC Weekly News for January 14, 2018 - Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church

Heb12 2On this second Lord's Day of 2018, January 14, we note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • On Sunday January 7, Rev. C. Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull, IA) announced his acceptance of the call from First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI. According to their respective bulletins, Rev. Griess plans to preach his farewell in Calvary on Jan.28 and move to Grand Rapids that week. Because of a previous commitment to the Philippine mission in February (annual visit of the Foreign Mission Committee), he will not be installed in First until March 4, D.V. May the Lord oversee for good all these plans and preparations.
  • Candidate David Noorman is considering the call from SW PRC (Wyoming, MI - received Dec.17). He has up to six weeks to consider this call.
  • The Council of Calvary PRC announces a new trio of Revs. B. Huizinga, J. Mahtani, and Cand. D. Noorman.
  • With many officebearer installations taking place, our elders and deacons are reminded of the resources available to them on this special section of the PRC website.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

  • CLASSIS EAST Meeting this week:
    • Classis East met this week Wednesday at Hudsonville PRC. The following is an unofficial summary of the work done and decision reached (look for the stated clerk's official report soon):

      Two appeals were not treated because classis judged that the matter was not finished in the consistory. Another appeal was given to a committee of six men who will report to a continuing meeting of this classis on February 28. Classis adopted an overture to limit the distribution of the agendas of classical meetings to current council members. The church visitors gave a favorable report of their work in 2017. Rev. Slopsema and Rev. Koole were chosen to be church visitors in 2018. Elected to represent Classis East at Synod 2018 were: Revs. Eriks, Haak, Langerak, Spronk, and Van Overloop; Elders Pete Adams, Gary Kaptein, James Lanting, Howard Pastoor, and Pete VanderSchaaf. Three subsidy requests were sent with approval to Synod 2018.


      ADVICE FOR ELDERS ON FAMILY VISITATION:  If you missed Prof. B. Gritters' speech on Family Visiting this past Tuesday (Jan.9) at Hudsonville PRC (Classis East Officebearers’ Conference), the audio version has now been posted on Hudsonville PRC's Sermonaudio channel.

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From the PRC Seminary comes this January news:

  • The Seminary has completed its two-week holiday break and is now holding its 8-day Interim course (cf. note below). Second semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan.23. That schedule may be found on the seminary's homepage (cf. link above).
  • Interim Course: The seminary’s interim course this year is “The Theology of John Calvin” and is being taught by Prof. R. Cammenga.  Classes will meet from Monday, January 8, 2018 through Wednesday, January 17, 2018, in the morning, 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M. If you would like to watch/listen to the videos of this course, they are being posted daily on the Seminary's main page.
  • Second semester classes begin for the seminary on January 23.  If anyone would like to audit classes, the following classes are offered to auditors:  Reformed Symbols (discusses the nature of confessions and includes a treatment of the Lord's Days/Articles of both the Heidelberg Catechism and the Belgic Confession); Dogmatics (Anthropology); and New Testament History (Passion week through the ministry of the apostle Paul).  If you are interested in attending, please call the seminary (531-1490) tomorrow to find out day and time the class you are interested in will meet.
  • The latest issue of the PR Theological Journal (Fall 2017) is now available in print form and in three (3) digital forms. Visit the Seminary's Journal page to download the digital editions and contact the Seminary if you would like to receive a print copy. At the Journal page you may also find all the back issues as well as an index to past issues.

 SISTER-CHURCH NEWS

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, the following may be noted:
    • Candidate David Noorman and his wife are finishing today their service in the ERCS following the recent departure of the Lannings for his new charge in Byron Center PRC. Rev. A. Lanning plans to be back in Singapore this week for a wedding and to preach for them.
    • Rev. A. denHartog and his wife will be serving this congregation for an extended time, as requested by the PRC Contact Committee. The den Hartog's are planning to be in Singapore at least until after this year's Synod makes a decision on the CERCS calling a minister-on-loan from our denomination.
  • The latest newsletter from our sister church, Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland, was received and posted recently (for Dec. 2017). You may find that on this page.
  • This note found in Trinity PRC's bulletin concerns the annual delegation from the PRC to the CPRC: "This Wednesday, Rev. Decker will be traveling with Sid Meidema to Northern Ireland as a delegation of the Contact Committee. The primary purpose of the visit is to conduct church visitation with the council of our sister congregation, the Covenant PRC of Ballymena and visit the Limerick Reformed Fellowship.  Rev. Decker [and Mr. Miedema] will be gone for two Sundays and be returning on Monday, January 29, the Lord willing."
  • Join Reformed believers from around the world at the 2018 British Reformed Fellowship family conference at Hebron Hall in South Wales from Saturday, July 21, to Saturday, July 28. Our speakers, Prof. David Engelsma and Rev. Andy Lanning, will lecture on "The Reformed Family—According to the Word of God." More information and booking forms are available at http://brfconference.weebly.com or contact Briana Prins (616-214-2779; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

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SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of Limerick Reformed Fellowship, was interviewed by Christopher Arnzen on his radio program, “Iron Sharpens Iron”, on Friday, January 5. The subject for this interview was Rev. McGeown’s recent book, Called to Watch for Christ’s Return. If you missed the live program, you may still listen to the mp3 recording of it found on the Covenant PRC website.
     
  • Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber? Why not begin the new year by becoming one and feeding your soul with solid Reformed and biblical articles in 2018 and beyond!
  • Reformed Book Outlet: The January 2018 newsletter notes that you may find many devotional books for the new year and that officebearers may find many resources for their work (cf. attached pdf.).

  • THE HOPE HERALDS 2017 CD ENTITLED, “OUR GOD IS GOD” is available for $10 in the main offices of Covenant Chr. High School and Heritage Christian School and also at the Reformed Book Outlet and the PR Seminary bookstore. If you are not able to pick up your copy at any of these locations, please call or text Karen Daling (616-662-0784) or Dan VanDyke (616-610-3276) and we will mail the CD for $12. Thank you!
  • Psalm Choir - The latest CD, Volume 20, ‘Sweet Refreshment’ is now available. There are over 25 selections from the past two seasons.  Please visit the website www.psalmchoir.com to order.

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  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. W. Bruinsma is "Arming Ourselves for Christ's Return" (1), based on 1 Thess. 5:8-10.
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

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 MISSION NEWS:

  • From Georgetown PRC's bulletin we learn about an upcoming trip of a delegation to Vellore, India: "Pastor and Mary Haak and Bruce and Cherie Jabaay plan to leave this Wednesday afternoon [Jan.17] for a three week visit to the PRCV of India. They hope to continue the work of our previous delegation, i.e.; meeting with the Tamil and English Church, assisting in the Sola Gratia Program, working with the GFH, visiting with members of the church and the Consistory of the PRCV, teaching and preaching, etc. While we would have liked to arrange for one delegation to spend a few months time with the PRCV, due to the current opposition toward Christianity is was deemed to send another delegation for a shorter period of time. Pray for the Lord’s blessing. You will be able to follow their visit on our church face book page and via congregational email updates."
  • The last Philippines mission newsletter is dated November 2017 and may be found on this PRC webpage.
  • The December 2017 newsletter of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship mission station is now posted on this page.
  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Maranatha PRC and the Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Provident CC: 
      • Rev. Smit will preach both times today. Rev. Holstege is preaching in the PRC of Bulacan today. Rev. Holstege will preach both times for PCC next Sunday, Lord willing.

      • Family visitation will continue today and this Wednesday [Rev. Holstege is participating in these.]. Please see the schedule on the bulletin board to know when your family will be visited.

    • Maranatha PRC:

      • Today, our Missionary, Rev. D. Kleyn will lead the first and second services. Rev. Kleyn will begin teaching a class today concerning the special offices of Elder and Deacon in the church. Today’s topic will be: “Desiring to be an Office-bearer."

      • Today, Rev. L. Trinidad will conduct the Children Catechism.
      • The Church Visitation in MPRC is scheduled for Sunday January 14, 2018.
  • Let us remember and continue to lift up the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful in all their labors.
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Covenant Reformed News - January 2018

Covenant Reformed News

January 2018  •  Volume XVI, Issue 21



Pulpit Failure Regarding Ecclesiology

Through compromising with the ungodly world, liberal Protestantism has lost the infallible Scriptures, the blood of Christ’s cross, the gospel of grace, etc. Thus it is apostate and a manifestation of the false church. However, not all is well with evangelicalism either. One of its big problems is that of a low, sub-biblical and non-creedal view of the church. Why? How has this widespread malaise gotten hold?
A major reason is that of pulpit failure. Ecclesiology, the doctrine of the church, has not been, and is not being, properly taught by many ministers (and their theological colleges). Why is this?
First, in some congregations, the “three Rs” are preached but little more or else. By the “three Rs,” we do not mean the traditional trio of reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic. Instead, we are referring to ruin by the fall, redemption by the cross and regeneration by the Spirit. While these things are indeed fundamental and massive biblical truths that are necessary for salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ, they are not the whole of God’s revelation. Often, ecclesiology and other things are totally or largely left out.
A second factor in pulpit failure regarding ecclesiology for some is that of the Sunday evening gospel service. Thereby at least half of the church’s sermons consist of the potted gospel addressed to the unconverted. This gives little preaching time to cover the truth of the church (and other biblical subjects) and so build up the people of God in this area. (Contact us, if you are in the British Isles and would like us to post to you a free copy of the pamphlet “Reformed Evangelism and the Sunday Evening Gospel Service.”)
A third reason why many ministers avoid or skate around the doctrine of the church is that they know that it is an issue on which many of their members disagree. In non-Reformed and non-creedal churches, there is an ever-increasing number of controversial topics. The temptation, and often the practice, is to steer clear of ecclesiology (and other subjects) out of the fear of upsetting and losing members. It is especially easy to understand the attraction of this for a minister of a small church: “If we lose any more people, our congregation will no longer be viable!”
However, this failure to teach ecclesiology (or any other biblical doctrine) is wrong. The apostolic example and requirement for the Christian pastor is that he declare—not a little or some or most of but—“all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), as did Paul, that “wise masterbuilder” of the church (I Cor. 3:10)! An undershepherd who avoids or sells short God’s truth about His church is not feeding Christ’s sheep with the rich and varied diet of Jehovah’s inspired Word that is necessary for their spiritual health and strength.
Various practical problems especially arise in congregations where ecclesiology is not properly taught. The loss of the scriptural office of deacon (I Tim. 3:8-13; Acts 6; Phil. 1:1) is one example; unbiblical “committee men” are often substituted in their place. Without the robust doctrine of the church taught in the Word of God, elders can soon be reduced to mere figureheads or yes-men. Where the full, biblical and Reformed ecclesiology is not found, it is much easier for the minister to become the tyrannical lord of the congregation. Moreover, the members of the church will be ill equipped to contradict the usurpation that is the appointment and “rule” of women office-bearers (I Tim. 2:11-15). With little or no knowledge of the doctrine of the church, most people will blindly go along with lay preaching, contrary to the Reformed faith and confessions (Westminster Larger Catechism, Q. & A. 158).
If sins or abuses arise in the congregation or denomination, the ill-taught member will not know if he or she can protest, or how to protest. Those bereft of Scripture’s wholesome ecclesiology are defenceless against strong-arm tactics by despotic office-bearers. All they are able to do is moan about it, because they are not empowered and equipped to use the God-honouring, ecclesiastical means for redress. Likewise, without the glorious, biblical doctrine of the church and its worship, congregations are wide open to modern “will worship” (Col. 2:23) and false ecumenism (II Chron. 19:2), despite the lamentations of those who retain some fear of God. What a foolish notion many have, that it is okay if ecclesiology gets short shrift in the preaching for it is of little practical value! Carnal men who think they know better than God are the occasion of the tears of the faithful and the apostasy of the church.
Once ignorance, apathy and errors regarding ecclesiology set in, it is usually very difficult to address and correct these problems by teaching. Tragically, many of the people begin to enjoy their increasingly man-centred church and its governance by man’s wisdom. As the prophet of God lamented, “My people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31)!
Sadly, with the loss of vital ecclesiology and Christian knowledge in general, as well as the resulting waning of godliness, the biblical and creedal teaching of the Calvin Reformation is largely seen as too difficult and too costly. There are so few who are interested in the election of the church, the church militant, true doctrinal church unity, the holiness of the church, the regulative principle of church worship, covenant baptism, the office of deacon, elders overseeing the Lord’s supper, church discipline, church order, church government, Christ’s kingship over His church, spiritual church authority, the three marks of a church (faithful preaching, sacramental administration and church discipline), the necessity of joining a true church, etc. Sometimes the ignorance of ecclesiology is so deep and the people are so entrenched in false paths that they perversely slander the biblical, Reformed and creedal teaching as if it were Roman Catholicism! Rev. Stewart
 

The Law of Christ (1)

A reader asks, “I would like to ask your view of the law of Christ (I Cor. 9:20-21). What exactly is the law of Christ and how does it, if at all, differ from the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament?”
There is much confusion on this issue, especially in the controversy over the error of Antinomianism. There is a growing notion abroad, fanned by the Federal Vision, that the good works of the law have to be performed by the believer and added to faith in order to secure salvation. It is all part of a conditional salvation, which makes our salvation rest on our works. Those who deny conditional salvation are then slandered as hyper-Calvinists. The truth concerning God’s moral law plays an important part in the controversy but there are few who understand it properly, i.e., biblically.
The Decalogue was given to Israel from Mount Sinai. It is a codification of God’s law that is imbedded in the creation itself. According to Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 2:14-15, even the pagans, who do not have the sacred Scriptures, know the law in their consciences but God gave it to His people from Sinai on two tables of stone.
The Ten Commandments are, therefore, God’s unchangeable moral will for man whom He originally created in His own likeness. The Triune God formed every creature with the specific purpose of glorifying Him in its own unique way. Man was created to glorify God by living a holy life as He Himself is holy, and thus representing the Most High as head of the creation.
That man fell does not change the law in any respect, as the Arminian alleges. The keeping of the law is the fundamental way in which man must live as God’s friend-servant and that remains true for all time. Whether man can keep that law or not makes no difference. This is the conditio sine qua non for man to have fellowship with God. Even though man’s depravity is so complete that he cannot even will to do what God commands, he is still required to keep the law and violation of it means everlasting hell.
God is the infinitely holy One. He created man in His own image, which included holiness. If man (in Adam) refused to obey that law and fell into total depravity, this is not God’s fault but man’s own fault. That law remains unchangeably the same throughout history and into eternity. There is no difference between the law of the Old Testament and the New.
God had another purpose in mind in giving Israel His law from Sinai. God had eternally determined to save a church out of the fallen human race through His own Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. The law was given as a schoolmaster to lead Israel to Christ (Gal. 3:24). To fallen Adam and Eve, God promised the seed of the woman who would crush the head of Satan and deliver His people from the misery of sin and death (Gen. 3:15). Believing Israel lived in constant anticipation of the coming of that Deliverer.
But they often had to be taught to look for their Redeemer, even as we need to be taught the same as we await our Lord’s second coming. One means was the law, which, as Paul expresses it, was a schoolmaster to bring the people to Christ.
It worked this way. God had, in His saving grace, so worked in the hearts of His people that they heard and learned that salvation included a keeping of the law. “Do this,” God had said, “and live.” But believing Israel, hearing this, could only cry out in anguish, “We can’t, we can’t.” And the law said, “Cursed is he that keepeth not all the words of this law” (cf. Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10). It was to them that the gospel came: “Look to Him who is to come. Hope in the promise of God who will send the Redeemer!”
The words of our Lord must have come as refreshing water to the thirsty soul, when He cried to those who were labouring and heavily laden with the curses of the law crushing them, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “You do not have to keep the law in order to become God’s people. I have come to do what you cannot do!”
The law still has that purpose today, as our beloved Heidelberg Catechism has it: “Whence knowest thou thy misery? Out of the law of God” (Q. & A. 3).
The law says, “Keep me and live, and accursed art thou if thou keepest me not.” All I can say is, “I can’t, I can’t. Woe is me.” It is the gospel that comes with good news: “Go to Christ, go to Him. In Christ and His work, not yours, is hope to be found.”
When I go to church, it is after a week of toil in which I have sinned. The burden of sin weighs heavily on my soul. I do not come to church, in the first place, to hear the minister say to me, “You must do this; this is your calling. I admonish you that you must fulfil this command to come to God.” My only response is, “I tried. I can’t. Is it all hopeless?” I go to church to hear what Christ did for me! That is the gospel! That is what I want to hear! That is what I need!
But there is more. Christ not only paid the necessary cost of eternal hell for us but He also earned for us the fullness of salvation, now and eternally in heaven. While this includes all the blessings of salvation, I want to call your attention to one in particular.
After a description of Israel’s terrible sins in Ezekiel 16, God speaks of His covenant promise in verses 60-63. God says that His anger towards us for breaking His law is pacified (63). Besides this covenant blessing of the forgiveness of sins, there is another blessing of the new covenant: God’s writing His law in our hearts.
Hebrews 8:8-10, quoting Jeremiah 31:31-33, says, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel ... Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers … For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.”
It is the same law given to Adam at his creation and codified for Israel at Sinai that is now written in our minds and on our hearts. That is, salvation by Christ has as one of its wonderful blessings the spiritual ability to keep God’s law (though never perfectly in this life).
By His irresistible grace in the new covenant, God has written on our hearts the law of love, love for Him and our neighbour, as summed in the Decalogue of Moses. For us, the Ten Commandments have become the law of Christ! Prof. Hanko

Covenant Protestant Reformed Church
83 Clarence Street, Ballymena, BT43 5DR • Lord’s Day services at 11 am & 6 pm
Website: www.cprc.co.uk • Live broadcast: www.cprf.co.uk/live
Pastor: Angus Stewart, 7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland, BT42 3NR • (028) 25 891851  
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Ballymena Lecture

Living Wisely in a Digital Age

 This very practical speech will address a serious concern in our day: the attachment of many young people (and adults!) to their phones and digital devices. Is this healthy? Does this serve real flesh-and-blood or face-to-face contact? How does this affect family life and the friendships of Christian youth?  What of their church life and the communion of the saints? What of the dangers of pornography? 

Speaker:
Rev. Nathan Decker
(Michigan, USA)

Wednesday, 24 January 
at 7:45 PM

Venue:
Covenant Protestant Reformed Church

(83 Clarence Street,
Ballymena BT43 5DR)

All are welcome! 

www.cprc.co.uk

Rev. Decker will also preach at both Lord’s Day services on 21 January
The sermons and lecture will be streamed live 
at www.cprf.co.uk/live.html
 

South Wales Lecture

Thursday, 25 January
 7:15 PM


Speaker:
Rev. Angus Stewart


Subject:
God's Saving Will in the New Testament
 
What does the New Testament say about what God wishes, wills, desires or wants? Does He ever desire anything He does not get? Does He ever want anything He decrees will not happen? How do Gods’ eternity, unchangeability and omnipotence fit  with His wishes? And what does all this say about Christ and His cross?

NEW VENUE:
Margam Community Centre

Bertha Road, Margam, Port Talbot, SA13 2AP 

www.cprc.co.uk
www.cprf.co.uk/swales.htm
Walking in the
Way of Love


A Practical Commentary on I Corinthians

by Nathan Langerak
(432 pp., hardback) 

Walking in the Way of Love, volume 1, is a commentary on, and application of, chapters 1-9 of I Corinthians. Directed toward the believer and the true church of Jesus Christ, the book teaches the vitally important way of true love, over against the foolish chatter about love spoken by the world and the apostate church.

Here is rich fare: the cross as the wisdom and power of God, the Spirit searching the deep things of God, carnal Christianity, apostolic ministry, church discipline of those living in fornication, the believer and going to court, singleness and marriage, Christian liberty, ministerial support and much more!.

 £17.50 (inc. free P&P)
Order from the 
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851
.
Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!

Righteousness by Faith Alone

12 sermons on
Romans 4 on
CD or DVD 
in a box set

 
Justification by faith alone is biblical and Reformation truth. But there are rich aspects of it that you are not aware of!
  
(1) Abraham’s Justification)
(2) The Justification of the Ungodly
(3) David and the Non-Imputation of Sins
(4) David and the Imputation of Righteousness
(5) The Time of Abraham’s Justification
(6) The Abrahamic Land Promise and Justification
(7) The Logic of Faith Alone
(8) The Necessity of Faith Alone
(9) The God of Justification
(10) Abraham’s Justifying Faith
(11) Abraham’s Unwavering Faith
(12) Jesus Raised Because of Our Justification

£10/box set (inc. P&P)

LIsten free on-line
or order from the
CPRC Bookstore
by post or telephone
7 Lislunnan Road, Kells, N. Ireland BT42 3NR
(028) 25891851

Make cheques payable to “Covenant Protestant Reformed Church.”
Thank you!
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PRC Weekly News for January 7, 2018 - Congregational, Denominational, and Sister-Church *(Updated)

1 Samuel 2 2

On this first Lord's Day of 2018, January 7, we note the following news and information concerning PRC congregations, the Seminary, mission fields, and sister churches.

CONGREGATIONAL NEWS:

  • Rev. C. Griess (Calvary PRC, Hull, IA) is considering the call from First PRC, Grand Rapids, MI (received Dec.14). He plans to answer TODAY. *UPDATE: It was announced this morning that Rev.Griess has ACCEPTED this call.
  • Candidate David Noorman is considering the call from SW PRC (Wyoming, MI - received Dec.17). He has up to six weeks to consider this call.
  • With many officebearer installations taking place, our elders and deacons are reminded of the resources available to them on this special section of the PRC website.

DENOMINATIONAL NEWS

  • CLASSIS EAST Meeting this week:
    • Classis East will meet this week Wednesday, 8 A.M., at Hudsonville PRC. [This note appears in one PRC bulletin] "The agenda is full and weighty issues will be dealt with from a number of our sister congregations. Voting for Synodical delegates will take place as well as other standing Committees of Classis. Pray that the Lord grant wisdom to the Classis that our congregations be preserved in the peace, unity, and love of the Lord."
    • ADVICE FOR ELDERS ON FAMILY VISITATION:  Hudsonville PRC is hosting this winter’s Classis East Officebearers’ Conference Tuesday, January 9, at 7:30PM.  Prof. B. Gritters will speak on our practice of Family Visitation.  We want to keep this beloved practice as our Church Order requires, but how will we do it most profitably for all our homes?   After explaining the important principles of family visitation, Prof. Gritters will address questions like:  Should there be a theme or special topic each year?  What is the difference between family visitation and a Bible study?  How much should elders speak and how much should they listen?  How to ask questions so that the people speak?  At the end of the speech, there will be time for questions and discussion.   Everyone is welcome, both officebearers and members. The speech will also be live-streamed on Hudsonville PRC's website.

 Nov 2017 Cover Page 1

From the PRC Seminary comes this January news:

  • The Seminary has completed its two-week holiday break and will now hold its 8-day Interim course (cf. note below). Second semester will begin on Tuesday, Jan.23. That schedule may be found on the seminary's homepage (cf. link above).
  • Interim Course: The seminary’s interim course this year will be “The Theology of John Calvin” and will be taught by Prof. R. Cammenga.  Classes will meet from Monday, January 8, 2018 through Wednesday, January 17, 2018, in the morning, 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.  Any who are interested in attending are welcome.  Please call the seminary (531-1490) before January 5 so that your name can be added to the class list.
  • The latest issue of the PR Theological Journal (Fall 2017) is now available in print form and in three (3) digital forms. Visit the Seminary's Journal page to download the digital editions and contact the Seminary if you would like to receive a print copy. At the Journal page you may also find all the back issues as well as an index to past issues.

 SISTER-CHURCH NEWS

  • Concerning our sister church in Singapore, Covenant ERC, we have this news:
    • Candidate David Noorman and his wife are serving the ERCS for three Sundays following the recent departure of the Lannings for his new charge in Byron Center PRC.
    • Following Cand. Noorman's work there, Rev. A. denHartog and his wife will be there for an extended time, as requested by the PRC Contact Committee. The den Hartog's are planning to be in Singapore at least until after this year's Synod makes a decision on the CERCS calling a minister-on-loan from our denomination.
  • The latest newsletter from our sister church, Covenant PRC in Ballymena, N. Ireland, was received and posted recently (for Dec. 2017). You may find that on this page.

Sb new cover 2017 1

SPECIAL NOTICES:

  • Rev. Martyn McGeown, missionary-pastor of Limerick Reformed Fellowship, was interviewed by Christopher Arnzen on his radio program, “Iron Sharpens Iron”, this past Friday, January 5. The subject for this interview was Rev. McGeown’s recent book, Called to Watch for Christ’s Return. If you missed the live program, you may still listen to the mp3 recording of it found on the Covenant PRC website.
     
  • Are you a Standard Bearer subscriber? Why not begin the new year by becoming one and feeding your soul with solid Reformed and biblical articles in 2018 and beyond!
  • Reformed Book Outlet: The January 2018 newsletter notes that you may find many devotional books for the new year and that officebearers may find many resources for their work (cf. attached pdf.).

  • THE HOPE HERALDS 2017 CD ENTITLED, “OUR GOD IS GOD” is available for $10 in the main offices of Covenant Chr. High School and Heritage Christian School and also at the Reformed Book Outlet and the PR Seminary bookstore. If you are not able to pick up your copy at any of these locations, please call or text Karen Daling (616-662-0784) or Dan VanDyke (616-610-3276) and we will mail the CD for $12. Thank you!

RWH logo 1

  • Don't forget to listen to the Reformed Witness Hour each Sunday! Todays' message by radio pastor Rev. W. Bruinsma is a special New year's one, titled "Confidence in Christ's Coming," based on Hebrews 10:35-37.
    • NEW RWH Station - The Cornerstone PRC Word and Deed committee has partnered with the Reformed Witness Hour to air their messages on the radio in the Chicago area. Beginning today, September 10, the broadcast can be heard every Sunday at 4:00PM on WYLL 1160AM or on the internet at www.1160hope.com. Please tune in and encourage others to do so as opportunity arises in your personal witnessing.

 Mark1615 1

 MISSION NEWS:

  • From Georgetown PRC's bulletin we learn about an upcoming trip of a delegation to Vellore, India: "Pastor and Mary Haak and Bruce and Cherie Jabaay plan to leave on January 17 for a three week visit to the PRCV of India. They hope to continue the work of our previous delegation, i.e. meeting with the Tamil and English Church, assisting in the Sola Gratia Program, working with the GFH, visiting with members of the church and the Consistory of the PRCV, teaching and preaching, etc. While we would have liked to arrange for one delegation to spend a few months time with the PRCV, due to the current opposition toward Christianity it was deemed [better] to send another delegation for a shorter period of time. Pray for the Lord’s blessing."
  • The last Philippines mission newsletter is dated November 2017 and may be found on this PRC webpage.
  • The December 2017 newsletter of the Limerick Reformed Fellowship mission station was received and posted recently. You may find that on this page.
  • From this Sunday's bulletins of the Maranatha PRC and the Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines we find the following notes concerning their pastors as well as concerning our missionaries and their labors today and in this coming week:
    • Provident CC: 
      • Rev. Holstege will preach both times today. Next Sunday, Lord willing, Rev. Smit will preach for PCC while Rev. Holstege preaches in the PRC of Bulacan.

      • The Wednesday night Bible study will begin again this week, January 10 at 8:00 pm. We will begin a study of Matthew 24-25. Please be prepared to discuss the Word of God together. Recommended reading is the new book by Rev. Martyn McGeown entitled Called to Watch for Christ’s Return, a commentary on Matthew 24-25. You can get this book from the bookstore in the Kleyns’ house. All are warmly invited to come to Bible study.

    • Maranatha PRC:

      • Today, our Pastor, Rev. L. Trinidad will lead our first service and in our second service our Missionary, Rev. R. Smit will give a message re on “True Thanksgiving” then to be followed by luncheon fellowship and also our Buenvenida for the Smit’s family.

      • The Church Visitation in MPRC is scheduled for Sunday January 14, 2018.
  • Let us remember and continue to lift up the needs of these busy pastors and missionaries in the Philippines. May the Lord of the harvest give them grace to be faithful in all their labors.
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